ALA Hails Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act as Possible 'Turning Point'
For Immediate Release
Asst. Director, Communications
ALA Washington Office
WASHINGTON, DC — The following statement was issued by American Library Association (ALA) President Jim Neal upon today’s introduction of the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act (S. 2559) by the bipartisan leadership of the Senate Judiciary and Foreign Relations Committees, Chairmen Grassley and Corker and Ranking Members Feinstein and Menendez, along with Senators Harris, Hatch and Leahy.
The Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act amends the U.S. Copyright Act to ensure compliance with the Marrakesh Treaty. Adopted by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2013, the Marrakesh Treaty requires countries to enact copyright exceptions that allow the creation and distribution of accessible format copies such as braille, audiobooks or digital files.
“The Marrakesh Treaty was a monumental accomplishment five years ago, and libraries were central to its architecture. The Treaty’s ratification by the U.S. Senate and adoption of the Treaty Implementation Act will be a turning point in global information access: it will allow U.S. libraries to create and share accessible format copies of books and other materials across borders to persons with print disabilities – something that 36 other countries are already able to do.
“The Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act would expand information access, reading and learning for persons with print disabilities not just in America, but around the world. In the United States, persons unable to read print text currently have less than five percent of the published content available to them than sighted people; in many developing countries, it is less than one percent.
“When it was adopted by WIPO member countries in 2013, the Marrakesh Treaty was the first exception to international copyright policy to extend information rights for users and limit the monopoly of content holders. Passage of Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act, would enable the United States to finally export our unique copyright policies in the public interest.
“ALA is grateful for the leadership of the Senate Judiciary and Foreign Relations Committees, Chairmen Grassley and Corker and Ranking Members Feinstein and Menendez, as well as Senators Harris, Hatch and Leahy, for introducing this legislation. We will actively push for its rapid adoption and for Senate ratification of the Treaty.”